RootsTech 2015

Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Other than digitization -- preserving the physical records

Digitization of records is one way to preserve our letters, photos, and other memorabilia from our family history, but what happens to the documents once they are captured in digital form? Unfortunately, many people believe that the documents can then be discarded. There is something fundamentally important to our heritage to be able to actually hold a physical document signed or created by your ancestor.

I have been scanning and photographing documents for years now and have a huge digital collection, but likewise have a huge collection of paper documents, photos, cards, letters, and every other type of document imaginable. Some of the documents are so trivial that I don't worry much about preservation, others are priceless. From time to time I like to look at some of the major preservation sites online to see if any of the recommendations have changed in the last few months or so.

My favorite place for information is the Library of Congress. But I have found a lot of information on the National Archives Website also. The amount of information is phenomenal and very all inclusive. I guess the real challenge is time to preserve so many documents, space to store them and how to file them when they are stored. We have boxes of documents stored all through our house. I presently have almost 61,000 digitized documents with almost that many left to scan. I hope I live long enough to process all that information into usable formats.

Once you have a large collection of digital images, you need to become interested in Digital Preservation. See the National Digital Information Infrastructure & Preservation Program of the Library of Congress for extensive information on digital file preservation.

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